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House Republican Leader Ken Fredette addresses anti-expansion demonstrators at the State House on Feb. 26, 2014.
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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/12/14

House Republicans Call on Rank-and-File Dems to Reconsider Expansion

Momentum, clear alternative should pick up Democratic votes

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican leadership on Wednesday urged rank-and-file House Democrats to join them in voting against ObamaCare's welfare expansion. Their call comes as the Maine Senate takes up LD 1487, a measure to expand the beleaguered MaineCare system to 70,000 able-bodied adults. The bill will move on to the House after receiving debate and initial votes in the Senate.

"Independent-minded House Democrats should join us in preventing this disastrous and unnecessary expansion of a welfare program that has racked up hospital debt and crowded out funding for other important state services," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "I'm going to vote to allow people to pick up better, private coverage on the exchange for a few dollars per month instead of expanding the broken Medicaid system yet again, and I urge Democrats to break with their party line and join me."

Of the 70,000 people projected to be eligible for expanded Medicaid, which would cover able-bodied Mainers up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, 46,000, or two-thirds, earn 100-138 percent of poverty and therefore are eligible for plans that cost around $10 per month on the federal health exchange. About 4,500 have already signed up for those plans, according to Maine's Bureau of Insurance.

"I have been speaking with my Democratic colleagues and it's clear to me that many of them don't know about the benefits of letting low-income Mainers opt for private plans on the exchange instead of expanding Medicaid yet again," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton. "I also emphasize to Democrats that if we expand medical welfare to more able-bodied adults, we'll have less money to take care of the disabled Mainers currently on waitlists and seniors in nursing homes, which are severely underfunded."

The Republican leaders' call comes as political commentators have been noting the momentum they have achieved in shoring up opposition to ObamaCare's welfare expansion.

"I'm urging my Democratic friends to let low-income folks chip in a few dollars for their health on the exchange and refocus Medicaid's efforts toward taking care of the disabled and elderly, as it was originally intended to do," added Rep. Fredette.

Democrats in the Maine Legislature are known for their tendency to vote as a block at the direction of their leadership, but some have shown an independent streak on issues such as Right to Work, uniformed military recruiters, and virtual charter schools.


David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793